Television, Useful Things, Websites by Chris Hathaway

Chalk one up for the bad guys, I guess. I was of the same opinion as most of the tech community when I heard about It’s from a large media company (two actually, News Corp and NBC Universal), so it can’t be good, right? All they care about is making you pay as much and as many times as possible for “their” content. But I received an invite to their private beta, thought I was trying it out anyway, and now I’ve changed my mind. The key is that the company is its own, merely funded by Fox and NBC, so it is still a start up with its own creative ambition.

Case in point: recently, NBC launched NBC Direct where you can download shows. This was much more like what I was expecting; it only works on Windows, Internet Explorer, and after 48 hours the DRM locks up the download. Useless. Hulu shows video using flash, so even my Ubuntu/Firefox configuration works (mostly). And they provide actual innovative features, like being able to embed any selected portion of an episode in a webpage. Brilliant. It’s not without bugs, but those will be fixed eventually. The make or break point is content, and I’m impressed so far. I just started into the first season of Arrested Development (I found out about it too late and I wanted to start from the beginning), and all the latest episodes of currently airing shows make it up quickly, so if my Time Warner DVR botches a recording (all too common), I can still catch it the next day. If they keep the episodes on the site and continue to increase their backlog, then I’m sold. There’s actually a chance of this becoming big, so you should go sign up for an invite and get in on it.


ed: Everyone, please welcome Chris H… we’ve added a few new writers recently, and he’s one! I should have announced this sooner, but I’ve been super busy lately! :)

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